2018 Award Winners26th Nov 2018 | Written by Gemma Simpson
Nominated by our members, the annual Triathlon Scotland awards acknowledge the athletes, coaches and volunteers making a difference to triathlon across Scotland. Read about their fantastic achievements below.
Young Volunteer of the Year – Isabella Archibald, East Lothian Triathlon Club
Isabella has been around triathlon since the age of 5 lending a hand as a marshal at the annual Haddington triathlon. Over the last 2 years she has been a race organiser for the Haddington triathlon, helping plan the event, book the suppliers, liaise with the Council, and co-ordinate a team of over 60 marshals on the day. Isabella volunteers her time in spite of the fact that until this year, she had little interest in triathlon as a sport for herself, when she started to attend the club swim and turbo sessions. Inspired by the club’s coach Craig Goldie and encouragement from other club members, she then went on to compete in 2 novice triathlons, overcoming her initial fears of cycling on open roads. Our nominator says, “It’s been great to see how what started out as pure volunteering has sparked an interest in taking part in the sport itself”.
Opportunity Maker of the Year – Mark Hopkins, M3 Monifieth Triathlon Club
Mark has gone above and beyond in the ‘year of the young person’ and has grown the Monikie Triathlon into a two day festival event with young people at the heart of the growth. To realise the festival, our winner worked with the local community of Monikie to build positive relationships and good feeling for the event. He overcame the complexities of putting a event on for youths and was able to work with the local community to close the road to ensure that the race was safe and enjoyable on the roads surrounding the park. In addition to this, our winner started open water swimming for children to enable them to have the confidence to swim in the loch before the event. This furthered the relationship our winner had already built with the park, and led into Monifieth Triathlon club starting a youth section. Our nominator says “he’s created amazing opportunities and continues to inspire everyone that he meets.”
Technical Official of the Year – James Streetley, Regional Technical Official
James joined the Technical Official programme in 2015, and since then he has progressed through Local Technical Official, Regional Technical Official and is now working towards his National Technical Official qualification. Our winner through his time on the programme as showed great potential and is a real asset to the Technical Official Team here in Scotland. He has demonstrated a real passion for the sport and his steady, calm manner has allowed him to take on the key role of educator to both competitors and event organisers alike. This year he was selected to officiate at Glasgow 2018 along side a team of some of the most qualified Officials in Europe and not only did he learn much from this experience, he stepped up to the occasion and following on from his performance in Glasgow, he was then asked to Officiate at the U20 festival in Mallory Park where he was instrumental in the smooth running of the Team Relay event. When not at large major events, our winner enjoys officiating at events across Scotland and plays a key part of training new officials as they start their officiating journey.
Most Enjoyable Event of the Year – The Duke Triathlon, DukActive Ltd
The Duke Triathlon was nominated by many people. One writes, “As I crossed the finish line, I realised with a shock that I am a person who CAN do a triathlon!” Great to hear! They went on to say the event was very welcoming, with music playing and simple straightforward instructions for the competitors. We had a very friendly warm up, and the time when we could have been stood at the edge of the water getting nervous (and cold!) was instead filled with bagpipe music, gearing us up for the challenge ahead. I started my first triathlon at the edge of the loch excited to begin – and I previously was scared by the swim! Throughout the event, members of the public cheered us on, but the staff were the ones who really cheered the loudest! One event marshal was dancing when I was half-way through my run, it made me smile so much that I danced over the finish line!
Club Coach of the Year – Martin Jones, G72 Triathlon Club
Our nominator told us that Martin has built a Tri club from scratch that is more than just the 3 sports. There is a culture and ethos behind our club that promotes inclusivity, nurtures all levels of ability and develops people from scared and nervous beginners to having 5 members compete at this year’s ETU event in Strathclyde Park. Coaching is more than just developing technical skill and knowledge. It’s about healthy minds as well as bodies, it’s about social interaction and creating the right behaviours and cultures. Our coach is the embodiment of this for G72, and you can see how his leadership and the example he sets through his coaching and interaction is followed by all our members.
Coach Development Award – Ailsa MacArthur, E#3 Triathlon Club
Ailsa’s love for the sport is evident and she has been keen to ‘give back’ to the club and has now become a volunteer Level 1 triathlon coach. Through this qualification, our winner prepares session plans and delivers coaching sessions in all three disciplines to both juniors and seniors. In school (The Royal High School, Edinburgh) she spent one year helping to run the Triathlon club for S1-3 pupils. This involved her running sessions after school for one hour a week, again in all 3 disciplines and she proved to be a very popular coach to these aspiring triathletes! She also gives her time to contribute to the school sports council. The Active School’s co-ordinator sees her commitment as a huge asset, and was happy to fund her Level 1 teaching qualification for swimming and also a life guarding qualification this year. Most recently, our winner has been volunteering as part of a team of girls who are teaching refugees how to swim as part of a city initiative.
Elite Performance of the Year – Marc Austin
Our winner Marc went down in history as the first athlete to win a Triathlon medal for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games; and was the nation’s first of the Gold Coast 2018 Games after winning bronze in the Men’s Individual event. The well loved 24-year-old from Glasgow, who finished 22nd four years-ago, started the race in Australia in a similar vein, coming out of a strong swim into a group containing England’s Brownlee brothers. Unlike Glasgow 2014, the middle section was solid, and he came into the final 5k run in a group of six athletes. As the pack split out, South Africa’s Henri Shoeman pulled ahead with Austin shoulder to shoulder with Jonathan Brownlee with 2k to go. The pair were caught by Australian Jacob Birtwistle leaving them in a straight race for third with about 1k to go. Marc kept pushing, leaving Brownlee behind him as he approached the line; and despite a strong finish from another home favourite Matthew Hauser, he crossed the line in third place. Reflecting on his achievement, he said: “I just love the sport and the training and even if I’d come away with no medal I’d still be delighted with my training and my performance.”
Age Group Performance of the Year – Alan Semple, Fleet Feet Triathletes
After a 2nd place at Celtman and a Kona appearance in 2017, Alan went into the 2018 season with two goals in mind, to break 12 hours at Celtman and to achieve sub 9 hours at IRONMAN Copenhagen. At Celtman, he had a score to settle and although the win was just out of reach, he achieved well under the 12 hour goal, and qualified for the brand new extreme cross-triathlon world championships in 2019. Next on the list was Ironman Copenhagen, and with a good swim, and a fast and strong bike meant he was in his comfort zone on the run but still had to post a 3.07 split to make sub-9 hour IRONMAN time. His strength is his run but having dug deep on the bike, he had to grit his teeth to hold pace. Posting a phenomenal time of 8.52, gave Alan a 3rd place age group, 8th age-group place and 21st overall. The time also places him in a very elite group of Scottish athletes who have broken the 9 hour mark over an iron-distance race. After some research, the only others to have done it are pro athletes which could make him the only age-grouper to ever hold the time.
Inspirational Performance of the year – Barbara-Anne Hogarth, Grangemouth Triathlon Club
Six years ago Barbara-Anne wasn’t a triathlete. She was a busy business owner, managing a hair salon in Bo’Ness, and a busy wife and mum. However, during one normal day at work, her life changed forever as she suffered a major stroke, consigning her to a hospital bed for four months. Major surgery to correct a hole in the heart was a success but further tests later revealed that she was suffering from liver and bowel cancer. Barbara-Ann has however showed incredible resilience during this time and has embarked upon an incredible road to recovery. After a few challenges to raise money for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, she joined Grangemouth Triathlon Club who were welcoming and patient and helped our winner to improve her swimming. She has such a positive mind set and doesn’t let her anything get in the way of what she wants to achieve. This year she completed the Great Scottish Swim over the 5k distance and went onto complete at IRONMAN Barcelona 70.3 this year in May. Despite a fall during the bike section, she still got back on and completed it in 7:43:23.
Most Welcoming Club of the Year – Triathlon Inverness
Our most welcoming club of the year, Inverness Triathlon exists to provide a fun, friendly and supportive club fitness environment. Promoting a come along, give it a go and ‘enjoy the journey’ atmosphere, the club has enjoyed growth of 40% over the last two years bolstered by a ‘encouraging newcomers’ approach. In particular, female membership has increased to 45% of the club and the age of club members diversified. Attendance at regular swim and run sessions have also doubled in that time. The club’s session approach is that they can cater for all levels alongside dedicated improvers. In the pool and open water they focus on building water confidence, and weekly run and summer bike sessions use a family-based approach, where adults enjoy a fitness session, while youngsters enjoy skills based sessions. In the community the club offer the Nairn triathlon and have links with the local leisure facilities to offer ‘tri a try’ sessions, as well as a partnership with the University to help encourage students to make triathlon their sport. They say that ‘all our members have a story to tell, so our website and social media posts focus on sharing our members journeys. We’ve found this approach means other club members can be inspired and encouraged by the journeys of others’.
Inspirational Event of the Year – MacQueen Brothers Mid Argyll Triathlon
Our inspirational event of the year is held in a magnificent location at Lochgilphead with a scenic course and the added thrill of crossing the Crinan Canal, knowing that the bridges can swing open at any time to let passing boats through. The whole community is involved with headline sponsor MacQueen Brothers right through to the Scouts manning the post-race food stand. Our nominator told us “This was not frivolous fun. It was a quality triathlon event provided by a highly capable and committed organising team that had prepared meticulously to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible to give participants a memorable day. Switched-on enjoyment, not switched off.”
Commendation Award – Lesley Paterson
Our winner Lesley is no stranger to world titles, with two XTERRA World Championship gold medals (2011 and 2012) and a 2012 World Cross Triathlon Championship gold it seemed like there was no stopping this Braveheart, but following a bout of illness after contracting Lyme’s disease, and the toil of battling injuries, it has taken five years for Lesley to come back fighting. And fight she did in 2018, by first winning the ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships in Fyn in July. After Denmark she then turned her attention to the XTERRA World Championships in Maui. After heavy rain doused Maui’s northwest coast, the hilly mountain bike course and 6.5-mile trail run were left a muddy mess and the challenging conditions combined with more than 4,000 feet of climbing were sure to be a mental and physical test. During the race our winner had one of her best swims, adding to her confidence going into the bike and run. Six miles into the 18.5 mile bike course our winner took the lead and for the remainder of the race she didn’t let up, finishing nearly 11 minutes ahead of her next competitor to become XTERRA World Champion for the third time. Speaking after the race she said “instead of being frustrated with the conditions, I was just so happy and grateful to be out there”!
Outstanding Contribution – Lester Haining, Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club
With over 30 years of service to our sport Lester has provided dedication, camaraderie and worked tirelessly in the sport of triathlon not only in Ayrshire but throughout Scotland. He and 4 others started up a club known then as ‘Ayr Turtles’. Their first organised race was in the same year with a swim in Ayr harbour. However, their plans were scuppered due to poor weather and rough seas. Our winner and his small team would not be put off and with a little tweaking to get the format right and offering swim training at Ayr baths to encourage the locals. On the 14 September 1988 their second venture in race organisation was a success. 61 participants contested a 500-metre sea swim from Ayr harbour, biked 23.5 miles using the coast road and ran 7 miles using the promenade on the shore front. It was on the 26 of May 1989 a meeting was called in the towns Wallace Tower when they had the good sense to change the name incorporating the local town ‘Ayr’ with the aerodynamics of triathlon racing to form what we now know as ‘Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club’. By this time there was a little more interest and the numbers grew to the dizzy heights of 17 members!!!!! Encouraged by this small but substantial growth the club went from strength to strength and our winner and his wife built up a unique and friendly club with talented members from all over Ayrshire. Putting these foundations into perspective we now have well over 150 senior members and a small but developing youth section. Our winner has been a stalwart of the club ever since and continues to support, organise and deliver club events with an infectious smile on his face. The club had so many wonderful stories to tell about Lester which can be summed up by Steve White ‘I admire his constant enthusiasm after all these years of involvement in the sport. He always encourages our members to push the boundaries of their capabilities in what can be a very challenging and demanding sport. Without people like him, clubs would be very dull places.’